February 13, 2019

Migrant Quilt Project @ Hyperallergic

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Skulls proliferate. Scraps of faded denim merge with handmade embroidery and store-bought Día de Muertos fabrics. Images of the Virgen de Guadalupe minister to innumerable names — hundreds, thousands — and an equally innumerable number of anonymous human remains, indicated as “unknown,” or by the analogue term in Spanish, desconocido. This is the Migrant Quilt Project, and it serves as a register of every soul whose remains have been found since 2000 in the Tucson Sector border-crossing area between Arizona and Mexico.

The project began when Arizona resident Jody Ipsen was motivated by a record 282 reported deaths in the Tucson Sector between 2004 and 2005 to begin a campaign to raise awareness of the human collateral behind what often amounts in the national discourse to abstract or racist politicking. Ipsen organized volunteers, working individually or in groups to visually represent the names of deceased migrants — information that the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office began recording in 2000. In the common circumstance that the remains could not be identified through personal effects, the identity is listed as “unknown” — and registered on quilts in this manner or as “desconocido.” Aside from including the names on the list, all other aesthetic and compositional decisions are left to the quilt makers.

Read more here…

Stitching an Image of the Human Cost of Crossing the US Border

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